Whether living in a crowded high-rise or a sprawling suburban community, when it comes to condos, co-ops and homeowners’ associations, safety is paramount. From management to the board to fellow residents, it falls to everyone to show concern for their fellow neighbor. It also, oftentimes, is the literal law of the land, as compliance with many safety standards is mandated both locally and federally. It’s imperative that an association be intimately familiar with these standards, the schedules by which building components need to be inspected and evaluated, and the outside vendors which, when necessary, must be called upon to ensure that everything is in working order.
It falls within a board’s fiduciary duty to maintain, repair and replace common elements in a condo, or common areas in a non-condo.
“Community associations consist of complex components that need to be inspected, both during transition and as part of regular maintenance,” explains Stuart J. Lieberman, a shareholder with law firm Lieberman & Blecher, P.C., in Princeton. “To cite an example, storm water systems are a component that can be very intricate. Many storm water systems include ponds with aeration systems to avoid nasty septic conditions. Experienced storm water engineers usually undertake the design, inspection and maintenance of these systems.”
“Likewise, elevators must also be inspected and properly maintained,” Lieberman continues. “There are serious potential injuries that can arise if this does not happen, and most jurisdictions require inspections at specified intervals. Roofing, siding and swimming pools require similar devotion.”
“I incorporate inspections into an annual management plan by identifying the various needed services and then scheduling them as appropriate,” says Stephen DiNocco, a principal with Affinity Realty & Property Management in Boston. “This includes all central services, fire safety equipment and security features.”